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The Secret to the Perfect Green Smoothie

in Smoothies

Happy first day of May!  Crazy, right?  Let’s celebrate with a smoothie making party.  After all, green smoothies scream Spring and Summertime …even though technically I drink them during the Winter too! 😉

I am obsessed with green smoothies.  Ever since my beautiful Ninja Ultima arrived at my doorstep about six months ago, I have been hooked.  I drink one every single day and am actually quite sad when I am without my blender and, therefore, without my smoothies.  They truly have become a staple in my daily routine.

perfect green smoothie 5Every now and then I try to keep things interesting by mixing up the ingredients I use, but there are a couple of staple ingredients that I always include.

I think it totally creeps my family, friends, and co-workers out when I tell them that my green smoothies always contain spinach, but they obviously have not been listening when I tell them that you cannot even taste it!  Spinach is not the only ingredient that you will consistently find in my green smoothies.  The other ingredient is something that I love dearly and while it may not really be a “secret” ingredient, I have found that my smoothies never taste “right” without it.

perfect green smoothie 3So… what is it?

A perfectly ripe frozen banana.

I know what you are probably thinking.  A banana?  That’s it?  It may sound crazy, but I truly believe that the secret to the “perfect” green smoothie is a frozen banana that is just “perfectly” ripened.

What do I mean my “perfectly” ripened?  Well, let me tell you.  I have tried using bananas with a very yellow peel (no brown spots) and those are incredibly no bueno.  Using an unripened banana resulted in a smoothie that was bitter and not sweet enough for my liking.  Make sure, however, that you are not trying to use bananas that are too ripe (think bananas you would use for baking).  These bananas will be very difficult to cut and freeze, especially if you freeze your bananas like I do where they all hang out together:

bananas green smoothieEvery week when I go shopping, I buy at least one bunch of bananas (more if they are on sale) and then I let them sit out on my kitchen counter all week, or until they look like this:

banana green smoothieOnce they have reached the perfect ripeness, I peel them, cut them into thirds, throw them in a gallon-sized Ziploc, and freeze them.  This has become a weekly ritual that I must keep up in order to ensure that I always have at least one frozen banana in my freezer at all times.  I have not run out yet, but I am fairly certain that if I ever did it would feel like an awfully traumatic experience.  Slightly dramatic, huh?  If you have already discovered the “secret” perfectly ripe banana trick for a great green smoothie, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

perfect green smoothie 9The perfectly ripe frozen banana allows me to pack my blender with all of this:

perfect green smoothie 2Very little of which I can actually taste.

Trust me, six months ago if you had told me that green smoothies legitimately tasted like vanilla or chocolate milkshakes then I would have thought you were nuts.  But, my friends, this is actually a fact.

perfect green smoothie 4Say hello to my very green and veggie-filled vanilla milkshake.  Thank you frozen, perfectly ripened bananas.

perfect green smoothieOh, and thank you Vega One too!  And yes, vanilla protein powder helps out a lot.  But trust me when I say that I have made the exact same smoothie (using Vega both times) and left the ripened banana out of one, and it was just so… off.  Drinkable, but not good and not enough to make me actually crave it.  I crave my green smoothies every morning and hate to be without them.  A ripe banana is an absolute must if you want the perfectly sweetened green smoothie.

Check out my current favorite green smoothie recipe below to see just how many greens I down each morning, all thanks to that banana.

perfect green smoothie 10The Perfect Springtime Green Smoothie

Makes 1 large smoothie (go big or go home)


1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 TB vanilla or chocolate protein powder (preferably vegan)
1 frozen ripe banana, cut into thirds or sliced
1 to 2 frozen strawberries
4 slices frozen zucchini
1/4 cup frozen sweet peas
3 to 4 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach (I have also been known to throw in some fresh kale)


1. Add everything to a high powered blender (I use my Ninja) and pulse until mostly blended.  This usually takes me anywhere between 30 to 45 seconds.

2. Finish off the blending process by “blending” on a medium speed (I use speed “4” on my Ninja) for approximately 15 seconds.

perfect green smoothie 7So frothy, cold, sweet, and delicious.  Oh, and did I mention healthy? 🙂

Have you caught on to the banana trick yet?

What veggies do you put in your green smoothies?

What is your favorite smoothie combination?  Give me some links!

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{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies May 1, 2014, 6:51 am
    Woah, can we talk about how you put PEAS in this?! PEAS! I'm intrigued + terrified at the idea of a pea smoothie -- do they change the texture? Pureed peas just seem so... creamy? I'm not sure where my problem with them lies. I'm a big fan of spinach and the zucchini sounds good (heck, I even like throwing a big carrot in mine!) but I'm going to need some talking into on the peas.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 1:06 pm
      Haha! Crazy, right? I'm weird... They do make it a little bit creamier, but I really like the texture that comes with it. Now I need to start adding carrots to mine...
  • Jackie May 1, 2014, 7:31 am
    Yum! I love green smoothies! Jackie recently posted...Vegas Recap {part 1}My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 1:07 pm
      Aren't they awesome? It is crazy that it took me SO long to try them!
  • Becky@TheSavedRunner May 1, 2014, 8:40 am
    Great idea to add other vegetables besides spinach! I love green smoothies!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 1:09 pm
      It surprises me how much I LOVE them and how very little they taste like veggies!
  • Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie May 1, 2014, 8:43 am
    This looks delicious! It's crazy how much bananas affect the taste of smoothies. They make them taste so good! Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie recently posted...Carrot Apple Ginger JuiceMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 1:13 pm
      They seriously do!! I would be lost without them :( ...is that too dramatic?
  • Alexis @ Hummusapien May 1, 2014, 9:58 am
    Peas in a smoothie!? Now THAT I must try!! PS my tastebuds love Vega and my wallet does not :)
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 1:14 pm
      Vega is so evilly (I know, not a word) good. Evil because it is expensive, but GOOD because it tastes SO awesome and the ingredient list is fantastic. And yes...peas in a smoothie. I know YOU would like them :)
  • Nicole @ FruitnFitness May 1, 2014, 10:42 am
    Oh why have I never thought to add other veggies to my smoothies? I always add spinach but never really add other veggies. Frozen peas are like my all time favorite, I'm going to start adding them to smoothies! Nicole @ FruitnFitness recently posted...Tips to Help Reduce StressMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 1:15 pm
      Do it!! Peas are awesome! I also highly recommend the zucchini...can't even taste it!
  • Ang @ Nutty for Life May 1, 2014, 10:45 am
    I literally refuse to make a smoothie if I don't have a banana to use or coconut water, either. Coconut water quickly became a smoothie staple for me. I love the way it makes them taste! Ang @ Nutty for Life recently posted...Packing and Snacking [WIAW #45]My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 1:16 pm
      I can't blame you there. Bananas are a MUST! When you use coconut water do you use that in place of almond milk or do you use both?
  • Polly @ Tasty Food Project May 1, 2014, 12:22 pm
    I need to jump on the bandwagon and get a Ninja! I've never added frozen zucchini or peas to my smoothies before. The veggies that I normally add are kale or spinach but I need to get more creative and try different veggies! Polly @ Tasty Food Project recently posted...Caramelized Pear and Maple Dijon ChickenMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 1:17 pm
      You should definitely try it! I am convinced that as long as you have a good banana, you can pretty much add any veggie. Let me know if you try out any unique veggie combinations :)
  • Jess @ PB & Jess May 1, 2014, 12:58 pm
    So preettttyyyyy!!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 1:17 pm
      Thanks Jess!! I always get SO happy when my smoothies turn out all pretty and bright lime green :)
  • Khaleef @ Fat Guy, Skinny Wallet May 1, 2014, 1:38 pm
    Sweet peas?? Wow, I never thought of that for a smoothie. Is that just for the texture? I love waiting for the bananas to get ripe (a little overly ripe sometimes lol) and then freezing them for smoothies. It makes them so much better. ~Khaleef Khaleef @ Fat Guy, Skinny Wallet recently posted...We’re starting the CLEAN Cleanse Elimination DietMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 4:27 pm
      I started throwing peas in for the added nutritional benefit and because they are a "sweeter" vegetable than some others... but it also definitely does thicken up the smoothie a bit! And I am glad you agree about the bananas. They are a MUST!
  • Em @ Love A Latte May 1, 2014, 2:44 pm
    That green smoothie looks so happy! I've been loving smoothies lately. I've been using oats rather than a protein powder. I like spinach in my smoothies and any frozen fruit sounds great! Em @ Love A Latte recently posted...20 Things I've Learned During Pregnancy (so far!)My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 1, 2014, 4:27 pm
      I never thought to use oats, but I love that idea! Do you find that they are sweet enough without the flavor from the protein powder?
      • Em @ Love A Latte May 2, 2014, 9:40 am
        For me they are definitely sweet enough. I use sweetened vanilla almond milk so that probably helps. I put cocoa powder and peanut butter in my shake as well, so that adds great flavor. I use 1/4 cup oats in mine :) Em @ Love A Latte recently posted...20 Things I've Learned During Pregnancy (so far!)My Profile
        • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2014, 11:20 am
          Yum!! I totally need to start adding cacao powder and nut butter to mine!
  • Sunnie@ModernGirlNutrition May 1, 2014, 11:12 pm
    OMG a smoothie without a frozen banana is like macaroni without cheese- um NO lol. It makes it so cold and creamy! I loooovee Vega but the French Vanilla is so stevia-y, do you have any other protein powder brand suggestions?
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2014, 6:57 am
      Haha, I love that analogy! SO true! And no, I don't :( I have never tried anything else because I love my Vega so much, haha!
  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes May 2, 2014, 1:23 am
    I need to try your green smoothie version! Thanks for the great tips on the frozen bananas - I need to start doing that :) Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes recently posted...Cinco de Mayo Recipes 2014My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2014, 6:59 am
      YES! The frozen banana is an absolute must, so don't forget that part!
  • Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy May 2, 2014, 6:44 pm
    I'm not a smoothie drinker, but looking at your photos has definitely got me reconsidering! How long do these drinks last you? Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy recently posted...Quest Bar Giveaway and Birthday WishesMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2014, 7:08 am
      They are SO good! You should definitely give them a try! I have a hard time determining how long the Vega lasts me because I have multiple flavors and container sizes open at once. Let's just say..I wish they lasted me longer ;)
  • Kare @ Kitchen Treaty May 2, 2014, 6:59 pm
    I'm with you on the frozen banana! A smoothie just isn't the same without it. I've been a smoothie fiend for several months now. Finally broke down and got a Vitamix. I'm totally in love. :) Kare @ Kitchen Treaty recently posted...Lemon-Lime Margarita SangriaMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2014, 7:16 am
      Oh my gosh, I am SO jealous!! I just keep telling myself that "someday...." I will have one ;)
  • Marisa June 8, 2014, 1:34 pm
    Hi there! I love this post, i've always been hesitant to try a green smoothie but this post had good tips and you made it look delicious. I'll have to try it out! :) -Marisa
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 8, 2014, 4:02 pm
      Let me know what you think! I am definitely SUPER hooked on it right now!

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